Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


works out the conception in mathematical terms. It is sufficient
to note that he claims to be able to show how by this mechanism
the forms of space and time, the idea of the Ego and all other
ideas " from the most humble up to the universal and necessary
ideas " are built up into those masses or complexes of ideas more
or less integrated, which determine the individual person's
behaviour in all particular circumstances.

These psychological considerations provide the educator with
an understanding of the process and means of education, but
behind all psychological questions of means is the more funda-
mental ethical question of aim. What is the purpose to be served
by education ? " The one task, and the whole task, of education,"
answers Herbart in the opening sentence of The JEsthetic Pre-
sentation of the World, " may be summed up in the concept of
morality." In a word, the aim of education that includes all
minor aims is the production of good men. It is not enough that
the pupil should acquire knowledge or skill. " The worth of a
man," he reminds us, " is measured by his will and not by his
intellect."* If the child is not made good by his education, the
educator has not done his work properly. Will springs out of the
circle of thought, and so does feeling. The lack of the good will*
the absence of broad sympathies, indicates a failure to impart the
ideas from which would have issued right action. But in justice
to Herbart it is important to note the wide meaning he attaches to
" goodness " and " morality," as defining the educational end,
It is not merely a detached attitude of soul, but the all-round
development of mind and character that he has in view. Kant
made the good will the central fact of moral experience : there is
nothing in the world absolutely good, he said, but the good will.
Herbart cannot sum up morality quite so simply. For him moral
conduct has five distinct aspects, lacking any one of which it is
incomplete. These are comprehended in what he calls the Five
Moral Ideas. The first is the Idea of Inner Freedom—the com-
bination of insight and volition, the knowledge of what ought to
be done in union with the trained will to give it effect; the second,
the Idea of Perfection or Completeness, with which the teacher
is specially concerned; the third, the Idea of the Good Will,
appearing in the attitude one assumes towards others ; the fourth,
the Idea of Rights, in the matter of property and other social
* Lange, Herbarfs Outlines of Educational Doctrine, p. 40,